Spoilers for The Last Of Us are featured in this article.
The Last Of Us has now been released for PlayStation 3 and, like me, many people, have finished the game. While this is in itself a sad prospect, the full emotional blow of the game’s ending is softened by the knowledge that there will be downloadable content. Story-based downloadable content. HUZZAH! Naughty Dog’s story in the main game has been emotional and pure genius, so I cannot wait for the next part of The Last Of Us’ narrative. In the typical style, the downloadable content will probably be kept under wraps until closer to release, which is also unknown. What we can do is speculate with mild spoilerific (yes, that is a word) discussion. What do we think will be featured in the story-driven DLC?
Joel and Ellie - After all of that work that Naughty Dog have put in to make Joel and Ellie look good and for the system that makes the duo-based gameplay work so well, would they really drop it so soon? I don’t think so. Almost all of our thoughts turn to the couple dynamic, so dropping this feature would almost be impossible. There are some possibilities for the main protagonists. Naughty Dog could bring the two characters to one of the cities in the game that we didn’t see them pass through. Concept art for the game featured areas that didn’t make it into the finished product (below) and they could have been cut completely for DLC purposes.
While this would happen in the same sort of time during which the game takes place, the developer could also bring to the table a sort of epilogue. While it would be hard to follow on from THAT ending, if anyone can it would be Naughty Dog. Could we see Ellie and Joel trying to earn their keep in Tommy’s society by undertaking tasks such as gathering food and supplies? Quite possibly. This also offers up the opportunity to expand the character’s abilities such as more items to craft or to find in the environment.
Tommy and Joel - Following on from the idea that Joel and Ellie must earn their keep, could we see Joel and his brother Tommy go out together to pursue enemies like Tess and Joel did in the first section of the game? A second more interesting idea is that we could see the two brothers surviving before the main part of the game begins, after Sarah dies. How did Tommy join the Fireflies? What really happened between them that they didn’t keep in touch? How did they get to Boston’s quarantine zone? Unanswered questions like these could be prime material to explore. These two characters, being brothers who have had a rocky relationship with one another, could set the developer up for even more emotional pull (If my heart can take any more after the Giraffe scene).
Marlene and Ellie - On the opposite side of the spectrum is focusing on Ellie before the outbreak and before her infection. The death of her mother is spelled out to us, which is why Ellie is so close to Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies. Ellie trusts her completely and doesn’t want to travel without her when we first meet her in Boston, and that would be an interesting dynamic. What effect did Ellie’s mom have on Marlene and even Ellie herself? It would be interesting to see how those events shaped the Ellie we met in the main story.
Even without Ellie present, Naughty Dog could weave the story of how Marlene reached the Fireflies and got to where she was before the fateful hospital finale. This would run simultaneously to the main story’s timeline and we could see her reach some of the same landmarks that we saw Joel and Ellie explore in a different way, and through different eyes.
Bill and Frank - Bill was one of my favorite characters in The Last Of Us. While giving us a badass introduction (cutting a zombie’s head off style introduction) he gave the sometimes somber tone a much needed break. The banter that flowed between him and Ellie was brilliant. We found a more sad side toward the end of his game time when Joel found a note from his partner Frank. Bills seemed to care about him a lot and as it turns out, Frank hated his guts. This sort of emotion could fit well within the realms of The Last Of Us’ tone and story. We could be shown them together and subsequently find out what finally made Frank try to escape and to take the engine. Anyone else think this would work?
Henry and Sam – The sad story of the two brothers we encountered while crossing the country. They were in the same situation as Joel and Ellie and quickly became good friends after some small troubles involving running off. Just as Naughty Dog allowed us to warm to the two characters, they were taken away from us in a heart wrenching sequence where the Sam turned. While they were more of a fleeting alliance, they were interesting characters and were given too small a part in our story. We could see them trying to survive up until the point where Joel and Ellie run into them, and playing as the brothers would give for a great lead up to their untimely demise and make it even more sad to see them go again.
David – Now this would possibly be a more dark choice for a DLC side story. David is the man that captures Ellie in the Winter section of the game. Not only is he a cannibal, it is also hinted (according to the Wiki and some of the parts of the game) that he is a pedophile. It is not entirely clear whether this is how he has become a a result of the harsh and unforgiving nature of a broken world or if he was like this before the outbreak. If it was the former, it would be interesting to see how this person reacted to the fall of society and how his experiences compared to those of Joel and others.